Jammu and Kashmir government pressed into service a chopper to assess the damage to the houses during the encounter in militancy hit area of Bandipore only to find that the damage was only to the extent of few thousands.
Less than a month after two militants were killed at Atmulla area of Bandipore,on 28 January,and with the Peoples Democratic party (PDP) saying that the government was hiding the facts on the extent of damage,Chief Minister,Omar Abdullah,instructed the Director General of Police,Kuldeep Khoda,and his Rural Development Minister,Ali Mohammad Sagar,to visit the area to find the truth in the allegations of Bandipore MLA,Nizamudin Bhat. However the visit for which Bhat also accompanied them found that the damage to some of the houses was only to the extent of few thousands of rupees and it in fact was only in hundreds in most of the cases.
Nizamudin Bhat on Thursday expressed his disagreement with the Chief Minister,Omar Abdullah,over the extent of damage caused to the houses,following which Omar assured that action will be taken against the officials if he was misinformed by them.
However,what came as an embarrassment for the PDP was the report which was read by Sagar in the legislature pointing out that except for one house the people were living in all other houses. The damage was to the extent of holes in the roof of houses by the bullets and to the smashing of some window panes, Sagar told the assembly.
Early on Friday morning,Sagar received information from the Chief Ministers office that he should accompany the DGP to assess the damage. However as per the report which was prepared by him,only 24 houses were damaged during the encounter. In 14 houses the extent of damage was only between Rs 100-500. In seven houses the damage was only between Rs 1000-5000. Only one house where the militants were holed up suffered a damage of Rs 6.5 lakh and the two other houses had a damage of Rs 80,000 and 20,000 the report said.
After the report was read by Sagar in the assembly,the embarrassed Opposition members rose up disrupting the proceedings of the house. As PDP stood up,the members from the ruling NC also joined them in creating the noisy scenes. NC MLAs were demanding that the PDP MLA should seek an apology for misinforming the house. Joining them,the Chief Minister said that like PDP,NC doesnt believe in the policy of issuing statements for political gains. We dont repeat lies so that people are made to believe that they are speaking the truth, he said.
Amid the din PDPs legislative party leader,Mehbooba Mufti,pressed for making a statement over the issue in the house. However after she was not allowed by the Speaker,PDP members continued to raise noisy scenes in the house. The Speaker was trying to restore the order in the house but the members from PDP didnt relent in disrupting the proceedings of the house. He however corrected the opposition saying that,PDP MLA had made a statement in the legislature that 36 houses were burnt in the encounter. However when the PDP members threw the house into bedlam,Speaker adjourned the house till the second session in the afternoon.